Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai’s putative rival in the upcoming runoff election next Saturday announced he “will not participate in the election,” saying his demands for ensuring a fraud-free election had not been met, although he didn’t tell his supporters to boycott the election. Surely now, Karzai won’t need to cheat again?
President Karzai, meanwhile, rejected Abdullah’s demand election officials who presided over the first round should be dismissed. However, there are indications of behind-the-scenes discussions that would give Abdullah a significant government role without an election. Abdullah was previously Karzai’s foreign minister
President Karzai’s spokesman Waheed Omar said, however, “The process has to complete itself, the people of Afghanistan have to be given the right to vote.
The two-month-plus deadlock underscores Afghanistan’s weakness and the growing divisions among Afghans. It also presents a growing problem for America and other Western nations who now find themselves harnessed to a leader who has lost support of large numbers of Afghans, whose brother stands accused of profiting from the trade in illicit opium and and whose government is widely regarded as corrupt
Fact box: Karzai vs. Abdullah
Hamid Karzai (read more):
- First popularly elected president of Afghanistan
- Opposed Soviet occupation in 1980s
- Critics charge he has done little to rein in corruption
Abdullah Abdullah (read more):
- Tajik-Pashtun, doctor by profession
- Senior Northern Alliance leader during Taliban rule
- Removed from Karzai’s cabinet in 2006
By Brooks Spector